Most of the Rotaplast team has arrived in Sohag, Egypt. The medical and non medical volunteers came from several directions: Hawaii, San Francisco, Seattle, Pennsylvania, the UK, Germany and last but not least, Uruguay! With so many connections, there was bound to be a glitch or two. Our Orthodontist-Dentist, Dr. Mabel Garcia, will join the team Wednesday morning due to a canceled flight from Latin America.

After two flights, a layover, the four hour delay in customs, and a 7 hour bus ride with only one pit stop, the team was eager for a shower and lunch when they got to Sohag (pronounced “soHAG” if you are from northern, or lower Egypt, and “soHAJ” if you are from Sohag itself. Sohag is a town of about 133,000 in Upper Egypt. It sits on one of the widest places of the great Nile River, which flows south to north. The summer temperatures range from a cool 80F to 110F. Rotaplast has been planning this mission for nearly a year with the Rotary Club of Sohag and the plastic surgery department of Sohag University. The team was warmly welcomed at the new “Nile Hotel” which, true to its name, sits on the Nile River. Each of the volunteer rooms has a balcony overlooking the Nile. Though it is hot, there is a breeze coming from the river. The AC in the rooms is welcome.

After the volunteers settled in, had a delicious lunch, and a good rest, an advance group of the head nurse, Evelyn Abad, head anesthesiologist, Peter Townsend, and one of our two interpreters, Amanda el Dakhakhni, headed off to El Bayana hospital, which is 50 km away from the hotel to see what lay in store for us.